MI Envelope generator - Peaks or Tides?

Pardon the newbie question, I’m a long-time musician just starting out with modular.
Currently, I have: Yarns, Braids, Elements, Rings, Clouds, and Veils in my setup.
I’m slowly getting a grasp on how it all connects together.
My main question is, do I need either Peaks or Tides as an envelope generator to get Braids to become silent when I’m not playing a note on my keyboard? Seems like Braids is AD only…? I believe the answer to be ‘yes’ but wanted to ask anyway, in case there is some feature I’m unaware of in one of the modules I already have.

Any and all help is appreciated!

I think Braids has an internal AD envelope. I never use it but you can configure it to drive the volume (vca) or tone of the oscillator. In any case, I would get a separate envelope generator to drive your Veils and to allow modulating stuff on the other modules.
Honestly: You need more modulation sources. Its way better to have a single oscillator with thee modulation sources than the other way around.

If you want to stay in the MI world:

Peaks is super versatile. It can be LFO, envelope, drums, random voltage source … and with the modified firmware it can be even more (bouncing ball simulator, turing machine, looping envelopes, etc, etc, etc). Only drawback is that you can’t modulate peaks’ parameters and that it can be difficult to remember what the knobs do in the various extra modes. Peaks has two independent (or not independent - as you whish) channels that can be in different modes, so you can have one channel play the ADSR and another be an LFO, etc.

Tides is very detailed and can be both envelope, VCO or LFO. However, it is AD/AR only, so if you stirctly need ADSR type envelopes, you’re out of luck. It is also not a dual channel module like peaks, but it offers to be modulated.

In your case I’d go for the Peaks first and move on from there. The million modes and dual channel nature (+ small footprint) make it ideal for small setups. Frankly, get two peaks. You can’t have enough of those.
And you might eventually want to add a shades to be able to mix and scale your modulation signals.

> do I need either Peaks or Tides as an envelope generator to get Braids to become silent when I’m not playing a note on my keyboard?

I think you’re missing the point that this is the job of a VCA. An envelope generator doesn’t do that by itself - it just generates an envelope. You also need a building block that shapes the amplitude according to this envelope shape, and that’s what VCAs are for.

You will need to patch Braids’ output to the VCA’s main input; and the envelope generator to the VCA’s CV input.

Veils is four good VCAs.

As pichenettes just said. VCA: voltage controlled amplifier. I.e. it’s a device that amplifies a signal. Since it amplifies it can also do the opposite, and hence silence the sound by not amplifying (if it’s a good VCA). A VCA can then be controlled by an external voltage which makes it “open” and “close”. The voltage can be produced by an LFO, an envelope generator… or whatever else you want. Some envelopes have built in VCAs, but that’s not the norm on the modular.

in most cases VCA modules are voltage controlled atenuators. afaik amplifiers boost a signal and can’t shut it off

Thanks for all of the responses. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of choice, and wrapping my (admittedly) not-super-technical brain around all of this has been daunting.

Also, apologies for my delayed response. I have two small boys that make everything I do take forever.

> Honestly: You need more modulation sources. Its way better to have a single oscillator with three modulation sources than the other way around.

Thanks for the advice, TheSlowGrowth. I have 78 HP available and will check out Shades and other modulation sources. Any other ideas? Maybe Warps?

>I think you’re missing the point that this is the job of a VCA. An envelope generator doesn’t do that by itself – it just generates an envelope. You also need a building block that shapes the amplitude according to this envelope shape, and that’s what VCAs are for.

Understood (now). It’s been hard to separate what I’m used to (piano) from the new way of making and manipulating sound that modular offers. That’s also the appeal and the point, for me. All this info is great! And thanks for creating these fantastic-sounding modules I find so inspiring, pichenettes!

Onward…

> I have 78 HP available and will check out Shades and other modulation sources. Any other ideas? Maybe Warps?

Shades is not a modulation source. It’s a mixer and CV/audio attenuator.

Warps is not a modulation source either.

Modulation source = any module capable of generating a slowly varying CV (envelope, LFO, random generator).

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Shades can generate constant CV based on knob position, so you could say it’s a manually-operated modulation source :wink:

a|x

>Modulation source = any module capable of generating a slowly varying CV (envelope, LFO, random generator).

Got it. Starting to make more sense now. Thanks!

Tides is incredibly versatile and I love mine and use it in a dozen different ways. What’s been said about a needing a VCA for an envelope to control is very true. Also, you can get a simple and cheap (for eurorack) VCA from someone besides Mutable. That’s a big part of the fun of modular is getting a unique combo of makes and models of modules for one of a kind stuff to happen between them. Otherwise Mutable would just build a 5 octave polysynth and call it a day